The recent campaign debates among the Democratic candidates for the primaries showed mainly how not to present proposals. The proposals seemed made for the East Coast elite, the Democratic Party leadership and the Liberal press. Everyone seemed to compete to win their favors. Not those of Joe Sixpack with a low income.
Let's look at some proposals:
Universal health insurance
What would work: you
will pay less for the same service, you will have a wider choice of gp's
and you no longer risk to lose your insurance when you are laid off.
Considerations: Setting such goals turns universal
health insurance into a "means" instead of an end. It shows that you are
open to other solutions as long as you can achieve your goals. That way
it takes the dogmatic stigma away.
What would work: Illegal
immigration is caused by a bad economy in some countries. We can do something about that. We can give them better conditions of
trade. We can stop trying to overthrow their governments and instead
focus on real cooperation.
But we should treat the people that do arrive decently - even when send them back. After all we are a decent country with strong values.
Considerations: America obviously cannot allow billions of people to enter the country. So don't make remarks that can be interpreted as such. Instead offer a solution that matches your values with the desired outcome of abetting the fear of being inundated by immigrants.
Of course many of the Democratic candidates won't do this because in their hearts they do want wars in other countries.
What would work: We need to do more to save energy. We need to do more to promote alternative sources. We need to do more to force the industry to become cleaner. And guess what: it will hardly cost us anything when we do it smart. A cleaner environment will make us healthier. And alternative energy is increasingly become cost effective.
Considerations: Environmental policies too often embrace fads that turn out badly. Biofuel, carbon tax, electric cars: there is an endless stream of proposals that turn out bad.
The New Green Deal is exactly the kind of formula that tries to lock people into defending such proposals.
In this area there are quite a few subjects on which there is almost universal agreement. Focus on those and don't waste your credibility on defending more controversial proposals. Even if you might personally agree with them it is just bad strategy.
Reparations for slavery
What would work: It is obvious that there are still remaining effects of slavery such as discrimination, segregation and low income. We need policies to address that. In some situations that can be positive discrimination. In other situations that can be the raising of aware that discrimination is taking place when for example a big corporation is all-white. And sometimes it can mean establishing services and building infrastructure that focus on predominantly black communities.
Considerations:There is no need for some study of the effects of slavery. Every can see them. And everyone can see how hard it has been to get rid of them.
Reparations won't fix anything. Suppose that you would give every black person 30,000 dollar - what in total would amount to one trillion. Then the black community will live better for a few years. And after that it will in mostly the same position. In fact worse as people will start to claim that they already have been compensated and that they have nothing to show for it.